One of the first major deaths in Friday The 13th takes place offscreen, but was a gory demise actually shot? Here’s the myth behind the “lost” scene.
Was there really a gory opening death filmed for Friday The 13th? Friday The 13th was a low-budget horror movie conceived by director Sean S. Cunningham as a way to cash in on the shock success of John Carpenter’s Halloween. Friday The 13th took the basic formula of Halloween and pumped up the amount of sexuality and gore, which proved to be a winning combination. Special makeup effects wizard Tom Savini became the unofficial star of the movie for this reason, with his gruesome work shocking and dazzling audiences in equal measure.
Friday The 13th also greatly benefitted from a now-iconic score and an all-time great jump scare in the final scene. Nobody involved with Friday The 13th expected it to become such a major success, especially given how little it cost to make. Pamela Voorhees was Friday The 13th’s original killer but lost her head in the finale. This necessitated a new slasher taking over, with her son Jason – presumed to have drowned years before – being resurrected for that purpose. Jason himself soon became a horror icon and slashed his way through another ten movies – often with a machete.
The Friday The 13th franchise is currently stalled due to a lawsuit between Cunningham and screenwriter Victor Miller, which has gotten increasingly complicated over the years. The first two victims of the Friday The 13th series where teens Barry and Claudette, two camp counselors at Crystal Lake. They sneak away to a barn together and are murdered by an unseen killer – who is later revealed to be Pamela. As it stands, Claudette’s death isn’t shown, but a more elaborate opening and murder were planned, which has led to an urban myth of a deleted Friday The 13th opening.
In this alternate opening, there was more of a struggle between the teenagers and the killer. Barry would have severed one of their fingers before being killed, while Claudette’s throat would have been cut with a machete. Various production stills from Friday The 13th’s opening actually show Claudette being killed in this manner, but Savini and director Cunningham have denied such a sequence was shot. Apparently, those Claudette images were test shots for the planned opening, but logistics caused the scene to be cut down to the bare essentials and they didn’t have time to film the character being killed onscreen.
That’s led to an urban myth among Friday The 13th movie franchise devotees that the scene was shot, but lost. This doesn’t seem to be the case, as the crew behind the film insists it was never filmed. That said, the shots of Claudette do appear to be from the opening scene itself, which lends some credence to the idea it may have been shot after all, but no footage of it has ever emerged.
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